What we have done so far
We were invited to help MQS back in 2018 by the Archbishop. We had been aware of the school before with our wider charity work, but this was our first invitation to offer our ideas and suggestions.
Over the last couple of years we have visited frequently to provide lesson observations and feedback, including a full school mock inspection in October 2019. We have also worked with the Senior Management Team to suggest structural changes and acted as a friendly sounding board for new initiatives.
In 2019, we took a team of five UK teachers to provide three weeks of training for the MQS staff on everything from SEND students to extracurricular activities.
The culmination of this three week programme was the Ankawa Education Conference where all the teachers made presentations on a piece of educational research at the Catholic University of Erbil.
Early on, we identified the teachers’ levels of English as a key focus for improvement and we recruited last Autumn a specialist English as an Additional Language teacher, Dr Nicholas King, who has been resident in Ankawa since January, 2020.
Unable to travel to Erbil due to Covid-19, this year we moved our training online. With the help of 27 amazing UK volunteers from across the education sector, we provided 9 days of targeted professional development for MQS staff. This included 14 lectures, 40 workshops, uncounted sessions of one-to-one tutoring and mentoring, and also 15 sessions of English Language tuition.
We hope to return to MQS in October 2020 to see what further progress has been made. Between then and now, mentor meetings between UK teachers and their Iraqi counterpoints continue, and Ankawa Education continues to support MQS in the interviewing for and recruitment of new staff.